Asleep on the Job
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
As an adult, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with rest. On one hand, I adore it. On the other, I – dare I say it – am afraid of it. I recognize the benefits, the necessity, of it. There’s nothing that provides us with the same restoration and rejuvenation that a good night’s rest does. No amount of water or expensive face cream can give us that same glow as sleep. There’s no pill that can adjust our mood in the same way when what we’re really feeling is deep and utter exhaustion. But to rest, it means we must stop, or at least pause. And that can be the scary part. When you’ve built your life on the idea that productivity is important, that pause can feel like inertia. I admit that in the past I’ve worried that if I give myself permission to rest, I’ll just sit down and never get back up again. I’ve worn that productivity banner like a pageant sash – proud and self-righteously. I’ve used busyness as a hallmark of a full and meaningful life. And I’m not alone. Busyness and exhaustion have become status symbols. We lament about how busy we are while silently viewing this as a competition. I’ll see your 5 hours of sleep a
nd a plane to catch and raise you 4 hours of sleep, a sick kid and 2 planes to catch. What is this about? And what prize do we think we are going to win at the end?
Becoming a mom has raised the bar on sleeplessness and exhaustion. I’m certain that sleep deprivation is one of the worst forms of torture. Confronting this level of tiredness has really forced me to reexamine my values around rest and relaxation. It just became physically impossible to keep going. And yet I tried. And then I tried again. And again. Each time the universe kept knocking me down. A sick kid. Then two sick kids. Then three. An ear infection before I was supposed to board a cross country flight. Strep throat – twice in one month. Okay Universe. I hear you. Not only was my body screaming for me to slow down, but this full and meaningful life that I was so busy running around creating was eluding me. I was too busy to be a part of it. Too busy to enjoy it. No one was getting the best version of me. Not even my Instagram. One of the worst parts was that I was living incongruently from the principles I was trying to teach my kids and my clients. Self care this and self care that. Give yourself permission. Sleep. Rest. Relax. Well, it turns out that sleep and down time are foundational elements of self care. And even the busiest of people are not immune to their powers.
As I continue on my path of a more intentionally-led life, I am allowing myself to slow down and a take a break. It doesn’t have to be anything luxurious. I’m still the mom of three small children so there’s no two-hour naps or daily massages happening over here. It’s the moments of exhale. The bits of rest I can sneak in. And really, it’s knowing that the emails will get sent. The laundry will get done. The errands will get run. All the work will be completed. And maybe, just maybe, it will all be done better because I’m rested enough to do it well. Regardless, the important things will be taken care of, especially my relationship with the little ones.
*Important to note that this was written post 20 minute power nap while my youngest was also napping.